Research Review: Electromyographic Analysis of Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Tensor Fascia Latae During Therapeutic Exercises With and Without Elastic Resistance

By Jason Gonzales, MS, NASM PES & CES, NASE CSS Level II, Ironman U Coach

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation:

Bishop, B. N., Greenstein, J., Etnoyer‐Slaski, J. L., Sterling, H., & Topp, R. (2018). Electromyographic analysis of gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae during therapeutic exercises with and without elastic resistance. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 13(4), 668.  ARTICLE


Research has demonstrated that a decrease in gluteus maximus and gluteus medius activity, and an increase in tensor fascia latae (TFL) activity, is correlated with lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint and lower extremity dysfunction (1 - 16). Several additional studies have compared various exercises with the intent of maximizing gluteus maximus and gluteus medius activity, while minimizing the recruitment of synergists (17 - 22). In this 2018 study by researcher in San Diego, CA, electromyographic analysis of gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and TFL activity was compared for thirteen commonly recommended gluteus maximus/medius activation exercises. The findings suggest that the clam exercise had the lowest TFL activity relative to glute activity, while the standing hip extension with resistance on the moving leg had the highest TFL activity relative to glute activity.

Study Summary

  • Age: 27.18 ± 7.33 years
  • Gender: 5 male and 6 female
  • Number of participants: 11
  • Healthy, physically active adults

Inclusion Criteria:

  • No history of hip, back or lower extremity injury/surgery in the past year

Exclusion Criteria:

  • N/A

Study DesignRepeated measures cohort study
Level of EvidenceIII - Comparative/Observational Research
Participant CharacteristicsDemographics:

  • Participants performed a 5 minute warm up on stationary bike without